The Department of Finance has developed a Citizen’s Guide to the 2021/2022 Budget, which provides a clear, concise, and simplified presentation of information on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure. This forms part of the government’s communications strategy geared at fostering greater accountability and transparency of the operations of government through increased access to information in the public domain.
The Department of Finance is mandated to provide oversight and management of the preparation of the annual Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure also known as the National Budget. Permanent Secretary in the Department of Finance, Esther Rigobert, said the Department has seen the need for greater public awareness and education on how the department delivers on its mandate.
“It’s fine to say the government is not doing this or not doing that. But really, do you even know what the government is doing? It’s the responsibility of government agencies to communicate with the wider public their work program, what they’re doing, the initiatives being undertaken, and how that will be of benefit to them.”
P.S. Rigobert made those remarks in reference to the publication of a “Citizen’s Guide to the 2021/2022 Budget,” produced by the Department of Finance. She said the guide has simplified the somewhat intimidating, over six-hundred-page, budget document filled with numbers, figures, and estimates.
“We found it very useful to develop and publish a document that is very easy to read and understand so that the average person whether it be a student, educator, nurse, doctor, police officer, a farmer, fisherman, regardless, can go through this document within a short period of time and get an appreciation of what’s contained in the Government’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.”
The Citizens Guide, she explained, provides an outline of the budget process, the agencies involved in its preparation, the legal authority, links to supporting documents such as the Governor-General and Prime Minister’s Policy Statements among other pertinent information.
“It will delineate the expenditures by Ministry or Department. It will show what the total expenditure is expected to be for this fiscal year and also where the revenues will be derived from, both from tax revenue and grants and other loan facilities as well as bonds and treasury bills. This is a form of educating the public and average Saint Lucia needs to get a better appreciation of what government’s revenues and expenditures comprise and we hope that this guide will do just that.”
The Citizen’s Guide to the Budget has been published on the Government of Saint Lucia Web Portal, the Department of Finance’s website as well as the social media pages of the Government of Saint Lucia and the NCPC.